Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Paulsen at His Finest

Notes from the Dog by Gary Paulsen

Adolescent Fiction

I had just about given up on Gary Paulsen when this book came along.  Before this book, I would have said that all Paulsen's books fell into these three categories:  survival/adventure, historical fiction and humor.  Now I can add a new Paulsen category-Just Darn Good.

This book is so tender, so touching, so very thoughtfully written about a very tough topic, breast cancer.  But, it is written in a way that is very accessible to young adults and very empowering with a topic that makes most people feel powerless.  That is a lot to accomplish in just under 150 pages, yet is is masterfully done.

Fifteen-year old Finn is looking to have a pretty boring summer with his dog, his dad, his only friend and his books-just the way he likes it.  Then, Johanna moves in next door and both Finn and his best buddy and even the dog fall in love with her.  Johanna's struggle with breast cancer causes both boys to do things they normally wouldn't and to try thing they never would have dreamed possible.

I like that the main characters grieve for their friend but that they also become pro-active and make a difference.  This book has many great message but this is probably the best one:  every person can do something to make a positive change.

This is one of the best Paulsen books I've read and a great read or read-aloud for breast cancer awareness.

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